Adding widgets to your sidebar are a great way to show your personality and set your blog apart from others. But did you know that sidebar widgets can actually help optimize your site and increase your SEO?
If you’ve committed to using a sidebar then take the time to make it work for you. The CNW newswire said it best when talking about the benefits of widgets . “A free source of automated content filtered for relevance: what’s not to like?” “
Take advantage of these tools widgets that will engage your audience, entertain them and keep them on your blog a bit longer. There are some good and some not so good widgets to add to your site. So I researched the experts to for more information.
Here are some of the widgets that work the hardest for your blog:
Search Bar – the larger your blog gets, the more important the search feature is. The bottom line – a better use experience.
Social Media Links – These social media icons are essential in getting your content seen. So make sure they are easy to find.
Blog Archive – as Mark Forrester explains, “an archives page boosts the amount of time that people spend on your site”
Option to Follow – Let your readers know when your next post is. Make it easy for them to come back. Here’s advice from WordPress on how to add.
Links to Relevant Sites – this can establish your blog as the go to place for information on your topic, and also offers the courtesy of cross promotion for continued blogger success.
Common Mistakes – Above all else, avoid the following faux pas:
- Leaving the Default Widgets up. Thanks to wpmudev for reminding us about this one. Delete all those inactive widgets –and make your blog look more professional. Another default to delete is the “Recent Comments” wpmudev explains, “ Leaving this widget on leaves you open to the risk of showing spammy or abusive comments that manage to sneak past filters.” Plus it makes your sidebar too cluttered. If someone wants to read the comments, let them do so on the related blog.
- Adding Too Many Widgets. Keep your space focused and relevant. Make sure the widgets you’ve chosen truly benefit your blog and will be of interest to your readers.
- Not having a Logical Order to your Widgets. Think of when you go to a blog or a website- what are the things you reach for when you first arrive? Keep your search bar at the top and your contact info.
- A really, really long Blog Roll. Blog Rolls are a great way to keep connected with relevant bloggers, but they don’t have to take up your entire side bar. Offer a slide menu or “more” option, saving that valuable real estate for other relevant widgets
- Keeping the WordPress Meta Section. Amuse your Bouche said it perfectly. “It
offers pretty much zero value, and immediately makes your blog look a bit amateur. Why are your readers going to want a “log in” button? They’re not. It’s more of a promotion for WordPress. Use our Meta Descriptions in your actual posts.
- A Short Sidebar that doesn’t complete the Blog. You’re scrolling down your home page and after the first quarter the sidebar is empty, leaving an unbalanced look. Don’t waste this valuable real estate. Consider an image, a quote or something that enhances not distracts from your site.